Saturday, October 2, 2010

1980's "Movie" Flashback: Inseminoid (aka "Horror Planet")

I knew that this genre movie, which I had never seen before, was likely going to be the worst of the science-fiction/horror movies that I selected for my “Strange Terrors” film festival this month, so I am very glad that I got this review out of the way.

Because boy, was I right!

Inseminoid (known as “Horror Planet” in the United States) was a British science fiction/horror film originally released in 1981. The plot of director Norman J. Warren’s film concerns a group of future scientists excavating the ruins of an ancient civilization on a distant planet. When a monstrous alien creature attacks, rapes and inseminates one of the women in the team, chaos ensues as the unbalanced victim, possessing unnatural strength, murders her colleagues one after another in a psychotic bid to protect her unborn twin-hybrid offspring.

Hampered by a low budget, the producers resorted to using colored-filters and smoke to simulate a desolate planet, where the team of twelve scientists are conducting archaeological excavations of an ancient civilization. The intelligence of the unborn fetus quickly assumes control of Sandy (the female rape victim played by Judy Geeson) and her mind becomes unhinged sending her on a murder spree to dispose of her colleagues ostensibly to protect her alien offspring. Sandy easily disembowels, mutilates, shoots or blows up the entire team (who are strangely pacifistic considering how quickly they realize that somethings not right with her) and she proceeds to drink their blood as nourishment. Most of the actors chosen for this film had absolutely zero talent. There are four recognizable British actresses present: Geeson (well-known as the schoolgirl with a crush on her teacher from the 1967 Sidney Poitier classic,"To Sir, With Love") along with the beautiful Stephanie Beacham, Rosalind Lloyd and Victoria Tennant, the latter two mercifully killed off and spared the shame of surviving to the end of this ridiculous waste of time. The remaining “performers” come across as a group of clueless neighbors who mutually decided to pool their financial resources and make a scary movie – minus the talent to actually do so.

The film’s tagline “Somewhere in the Depth of Space ... A Horrific Nightmare is About to Become a Reality” proves to surprisingly be true, but not in the way that the producers intended. In fact I encourage you to read this films summary on Wikipedia. It was hilarious reading the serious comments made by director Warren and others over this utterly stupid movie. The horrific nightmare comes when you realize that you’ve wasted almost two hours of your life on something this bad!

Some of you may be morbidly curious to see this one, if you are a glutton for punishment so here’s the high spot. Inseminoid is famous for its rape scene, but other than the nudity, the rape is odd, surreal even. I mean you see Geeson stripped and lying on a medical table (that materializes from nowhere) and then the bug-eyed alien conveniently appears between her legs, inserting a long clear-glass tube into her and through which a viscous green substance is injected inside her. It’s less disturbing and just really weird. Not erotic at all!

Stephanie Beacham is featured in a supporting role and although she looks hot in the minute or so that she appears on camera in a tight white tank top and panties, later (after the carnage gets underway) every time that she comes across the dead bodies of her colleagues, she screams as loud as humanly possible, apparently in an effort to help the impregnated psycho-bitch find her as quickly as possible. I was then shocked to discover that Geeson can actually scream even louder than Beacham, during her delivery scenes when she births the twin-hybrids. Beacham is ultimately disposed of off camera; probably a mercy killing for being stupid enough to take this role. That doesn’t explain why the other dolts in the cast stand around and twiddle their thumbs as they are being picked off one by one, unless of course, these folks just didn’t have the talent to make even a passable SyFy movie of the week somewhat palatable. I do have to say that American actress Jennifer Ashley grated on me the most of this cast of losers. She starred as "Holly", the groups leader and never has a woman seemed to command less authority than this ditsy dame. Damn, was I glad that she was killed off just past the halfway point of this movie and don’t think that the male actors were any better. Robin Clarke had top billing as "Mark", the love interest of Geeson’s poor, doomed character and since I’ve never seen him in any other role; I have to believe that someone in Hollywood learned a valuable lesson about Mr. Clarke.

For just one minute consider that superior genre movies like Metropolis was made in 1927, or King Kong which was made in 1933 and it becomes clear that despite a low budget, the problem here is that in 1981 cheap-looking rip-offs of many similar flicks leads to well-deserved career embarrassment for every one involved in this turkey.

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